Following the release of their excellent new album We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service, Q-Tip and Jarobi of A Tribe Called Quest sat down with Ebro Darden on Beats 1 to discuss the project and their place in hip-hop.
"We are trying to bring an awareness and a truth to people," Q-Tip says, explaining how they fit in with the younger rappers of today. "It's a very message oriented music. So, it's cool. I do want to hear 'Cut It.' And I do want to hear energy. I love them brothers. We celebrate those brothers. I do want to want to hear Uzi Vert. Even though bruh bruh has not said the best things about people our age. I'm 46 years old and I say that proudly. It's not about separating or ageism. That's what they want us to do, is to cause division between us so that it will be easier to swallow. But this music is a unifying music [...] It's about balance."
Speaking on the album's political messages in today's socially turbulent climate, Q-Tip said he hoped the project will help unify and inspire people.
“We’re just lovely musicians and artists and that’s all we do, is speak and paint pictures and try to speak to a climate but hopefully we will call some sort of uprising internally in that young Jimmy Carter and that young Angela Davis," he explained. "Hopefully we will, 'cause that's the type of thing we do. And that’s why 'We The People’ is more of an encompassing and not just us—it’s all of us as people”
Jarobi also took a moment to touch on what it was like to reunite and work on a new project for the first time since their 1998 album The Love Movement.
“This one is really similar because it was us in the studio together you know banging out and creating everything from it’s infancy together," he said. "Cracking the old jokes you know what I’m saying having the same familiarity the brotherhood, comradery like coming out of the vocal booth and watching Phife dancing, ding these dumb dances. And seeing these guys interacting, for me that was one of the most beautiful times.”
At the end of the interview, Q-Tip got emotional when speaking about working with Phife's vocals after he passed: “One of the things for me honestly—It was difficult as a producer to really bring it to a close because you hear the brother [Phife Dawg's] voice, you know I hear his voice real talk you know what I’m saying.. You hear his voice." He added, "This is a thing that he wanted even more than I did, this last joint."
Listen to the full 28-minute interview below, in which they run through each song on the album, Phife's legacy, how they connected with the album's many high-profile guest features, and more.